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UPDATE: Rescuers reach girl scouts in storm-hit Boundary Waters

The nine-person group had to be reached by canoe

UPDATE 7:20 A.M.

It's a happy end to a tense situation that many throughout the state were watching Friday night.

Rescuers have reached the girl scouts who were stranded in the Boundary Waters, who are all "awake, alert, and able to move without assistance."

This is despite early reports from authorities that two of them had suffered potentially serious injuries from a lightning strike; it was also erroneously reported that there were six members of the group, when in fact there are nine.

"First, please be advised: No one in the group was struck by lightning, no one was ever in critical condition, the group was not lost as they were following a pre-planned route, and everyone is safe," said Girl Scouts of Minnesota and Wisconsin Lakes and Pines.

"Earlier this evening, severe weather went through the Boundary Waters Canoe Area near Knife Lake in Lake County where a group of girls from Chicago IL was on a BWCA Trip. The lead guide called in the lightning strike, per protocol, informed authorities of their exact location per the planned route, and said 'they believe that lightning struck the ground and they might have experienced ground current.'

"Girl Scouts Lakes and Pines staff has been working with local authorities, and the group has been in constant contact with medical personnel the entire time.

"Again, all nine people in the party are safe and, as of 11:08pm the EMT is with the group."

In an announcement early Saturday morning, the St. Louis County Rescue Squad says teams are "bringing the entire party out":

ORIGINAL STORY:

Authorities are searching for a group of girl scouts who were feared to have been struck by lightning in the Boundary Waters on Friday night. 

The girls apparently became stranded in the area of Knife Lake, which is in Lake County on the U.S.-Canadian border.

According to an update from the St. Louis County Rescue Squad — which responds to emergencies in local wilderness areas — "ground/paddle teams" are on their way to the scene, while a Minnesota State Patrol aircraft works to pinpoint the girl scouts' location:

The rescue squad also clarified that "the entire ... party experienced the strike, but two are showing acute symptoms that have us concerned."

WDIO says one of those two girls is in critical condition.

According to the Star Tribune, rescuers were facing five portages — overland treks where canoes must be carried between bodies of water — to reach the girls.

As of 10 p.m., they had only gotten over two portages, the paper says. 

Responders must navigate five portages to reach the area. At 10 p.m., Slatten said they had only traversed two.

"We're going to do everything we can to bring them home safe," Gov. Tim Walz vowed in a tweet:

The Duluth News Tribune notes that thunderstorms were rolling through the region at the time. 

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